THE WEBER MOVIE COUNTDOWN
THE GOAL FOR 2018: 200 MOVIES WATCHED BY MIDNIGHT NEW YEAR'S EVE! (AFTER TOPPING OUT AT 194 in 2017)
CAN HE DO IT?
THE WEBER MOVIE COUNTDOWN
THE FLORIDA PROJECT (2017)
This should have been the tenth nominee for Best Picture, or else should have elbowed films like The Post and Call My By Your Name out of the competition. This is an amazingly realistic film about a section of the population that just doesn’t get movies made about them. Most of the guests of Orlando’s Magic Castle motel aren’t staying there because of its proximity to Walt Disney World – they’re living there because it’s all they can afford as they work low-paying jobs and find ways to make money to pay the rent each week. These people have been called the “invisible homeless,” liable to lose their shelter at any time if the money isn’t there (the film portrays a situation where every 30th day of the month, the tenants have to go stay in a different motel for a night, as not to establish residency in the Magic Castle). The Florida Project centers on the kids that live in these motels – especially Moonee (7-year old Brooklynn Prince). Prince is astonishing as one of several kids who don’t let the fact that they’re living in a motel diminish their zest for life and finding things to do – much of it cringe-inducing as these three kids sift through abandoned buildings, play with the circuit breaker for the motel (they find it amusing to turn it off and see what happens) and go to the local ice cream stand and beg patrons for money to buy one ice cream (that they share equally). There’s a dedication to the Little Rascals series of movies from the Depression, and there’s no doubt that these kids and their pranks are an update of the Rascals’ hijinks. The motel manager, Bobby, played by Willem Dafoe in one of his best performances ever (Best Supporting Actor nomination), has given up trying to educate these parents on how to take care of their kids and adopts a watchdog stance. The scene where he rightly identifies a potential pedophile among the playing children will make you cheer for the character and feel so incredibly sad that he’s the only one able to keep an eye out for these kids. This sounds like very heavy stuff but there is a LOT of joy, laughter and warmth in this film. These kids don’t know they’re poor and they aren’t surrounded by other affluent families – all are in the same boat. The Florida Project will break your heart as we head toward a troubled ending and Moonee’s mother (Bria Vinaite) stoops to some horribly desperate measures to make money to pay the weekly bill. An unforgettable film that deserves to be seen.
TLA one word review: tenderhearted